Dubai Air Show

Beechcraft Sees Increased Demand for Hawker XPR Upgrade Package in Middle East

 - November 16, 2013, 2:15 PM

Beechcraft expects to see increased demand for its XPR jet upgrade packages in the Middle East as sellers try to move small to mid-size jets in the region, and buyers increasingly focus on cost.

The company’s XPR program provides performance upgrades for Hawker 400 and 800 series jets, with options for new avionics and upgraded engines. Purchase of an already upgraded Hawker 400XPR or 800XPR, at around half the price of a similar new aircraft, is another option for cost-conscious buyers.

The company said it is experiencing substantial demand for its XPR upgrade program, with its 400XPR order book now full until the end of the third quarter 2014. Around 23 percent of the region’s 502 business jets are more than 15 years old, while around 11 percent are for sale at the moment, making it difficult for owners to sell aircraft, according to Beechcraft officials.

“By opting to keep and upgrade their aircraft through our Hawker 400XPR and 800XPR [programs], owners are able to add value and more effectively utilize an existing asset that benefits from increased performance, payload and efficiency at half the cost of a new comparable aircraft,” said Brian Howell, Beechcraft vice president of global customer support, aftermarket sales and business development.

Beechcraft (Chalet C7) has reported strong third-quarter deliveries of 48 aircraft, including 15 King Air 350i/ERs and 10 T-6A/B/Cs, for a 47-percent increase in aircraft deliveries year-to-date, the company said. Of the total, 38 were commercial aircraft and 10 were military trainer airplanes. The company has delivered 163 Beechcraft airplanes through the first nine months of the year, compared to 111 for the same period in 2012.

Beechcraft will embark on a three-month demonstration tour of the light-attack AT-6, after displaying the aircraft here at the Dubai Airshow. “From the Dubai Airshow, we’ll be taking the AT-6 throughout the Middle East region, Africa and Europe and will finish the tour in Asia at the Singapore Airshow [February 6 to 11]” said Russ Bartlett, president of Beechcraft Defense Company. “We have seen growing interest in the AT-6 from defense establishments around the world,” he added.

Beechcraft is displaying three King Airs at the show–the 350i, 350ER and C90GTx–targeting the region’s increased use of special-mission and business aircraft. Some 61 of the Middle East’s 91 business turboprops are King Airs. Business turboprop deliveries to the region have increased tenfold in the past five years.